John Lennon, the enigmatic singer for The Beatles, always his said his son, Sean, felt “more like a twin” considering that they both shared the same birthday. The pair assimilated one another’s moods and often peaked and troughed in unison and, with Sean going on to have his own wonderful career as a musician perhaps, there’s some truth to it.
In the below clip we catch a glimpse of their relationship as the pair shared a few notes. The footage comes from a rare home recording and sees Sean as a young child. On the tape, he starts singing his “favourite” Beatles song, but it’s not one of his father’s creation.
Sean Ono Lennon may well be an acclaimed musician on his own terms—such has been his mission from an early age—but he stills pays homage to his father’s undeniable influence on him. While much of that may have come from later in life, as Sean began to explore his work both with The Beatles and the Plastic Ono Band more intently.
Moments like the ones below are not only sparks of inspiration nestling into Sean’s consciousness for later use but are glimpses of their uncanny relationship. In an interview dated in 1980, Lennon once famously said that down to Sean’s apparent ability to channel his father’s emotions, John was now forced to shake himself out of “artistic depression” for the sake of the child. It’s a father-son relationship that is crystalised in this short clip.
Beginning with the unmistakable tone of a happy child, Sean belts out the lines: “Do you need anybody / I need somebody to love,” with a gleeful smile across his face. “That’s my favourite song,” confirms the toddler. “Very good,” replies John. The inquisitive Sean asks: “Who’s singing? You?”, his father replies: “No. Ringo, but Paul and I are singing it with him.”
Things do take a slight turn for the worse when the realisation it is not John’s own work that happens to be his son’s favourite but it’s all in good fun. In fact, rather than being upset by the question, such as the catalogue of Lennon’s work, it sounds like he had forgotten not only the singer of the song but the name of the track itself.
After being asked what the song is called and trying to run through the lyrics for the title, like so many pub quiz teams have done before, Lennon concedes: “Oh, I’ve forgotten what it was called.”
Sean continues the song and messes up the lyrics the way only a small child can, after quickly correcting the lines, John then has a eureka moment and remembers, “Oh, ‘A Little Help From My Friends’, that’s what it’s called.”
Listen to the beautiful candid moment between John and Sean Lennon as they sing Sean’s favourite Beatles song.